Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Just In Time for This Weekends Festivities, Gluten Free (or not) Blueberry Tarts with Buttermilk Ice Cream.

   It's blueberry season here in Sonoma and the berries are available all over town at prices I just couldn't resist. I've been woking on a lot of all gluten-free, low sugar desserts for the new CocoaPlanet Tasting Room and Bistro opening here in Sonoma very very soon. The owners of CocoaPlanet are gluten intolerant and so this is going to be a completely gluten free facility. I've been working with a variety of non-gluten flours for years all because of cooking Indian food, and I've been having a great time whipping up dishes and desserts to be served in the cafe. We taste test every Saturday night, but I couldn't wait. I saw these blueberries and had to bake tarts STAT! These little tarts are super easy and they can be made with either gluten-free flour or regular flour, no difference.  Either way they're a perfect dessert for a warm late Spring evening in the CocoaPlanet garden.

Blueberry Tarts

Here's What You Need:

For the Tart Dough: 
1 1/4 cups of flour, (regular or gluten free) plus a bit more for dusting
3 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
7 Tbs unsalted butter chopped up
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs ice water
see the link here for directions

For The Filling:
4 cups of fresh blueberries washed and stemmed
2 Tbs corn starch
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbs lemon juice
a pinch of salt

Buttermilk Ice cream

Here's What to do:
Mix your tart dough directions here
When the dough is blended and formed into a disc wrap it in saran wrap or waxed paper and let it firm up in the fridge for at least an hour. If you're making gluten free dough pop it into the freezer for about 10 minutes before working with it.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Butter 5 small tart pans with removable bottoms.
Cut your disc of chilled dough into  five pieces
Roll one out and shape it into a disc.
Fit the dough into the tart pan.

Trim away the excess dough.

Do this with each tart pan.

Set them aside.
In a large bowl mix together the blueberries with the lemon zest.

Add in the corn starch...

...lemon juice...

...and sugar.

Stir everything together well then pour the berry mixture into each tart pan.

Put the pans on a baking sheet and pop them into the 375 degree oven.

Bake them for about 20 to 30 minutes. You'll know when they're done when the crust begins to turn firm and golden.
Take them out and slide them onto a cooling rack.

Let them sit for at least 20 minutes before unmolding.

Serve them plain or with the topping of your choice. I made some buttermilk ice cream since buttermilk and blueberries go so well together.

    Enjoy! This can also be done with whatever fruit tickles your fancy. You don't have to limit yourself to blueberries. In fact strawberries, or raspberries and blueberries together make a perfect combo for Fourth of July! Coming up next, something spicy and new direct from The Chaunk to you. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Full of Beans! Slow and Easy, Rancho Gordo Royal Coronas Go Masala.

   I love fresh beans. They're versatile, inexpensive, and they feed a whole passel of people easily. What I don't like about beans is whenever I want beans it requires planning... and by planning I mean a long soaking. Therefore, by the time I'm ready to eat beans, I'm too lazy to do all the prep work necessary.  Well, all that's out the window now that I've cooked Royal Corona Beans from Rancho Gordo in my slow cooker. I'd  bought a bag of Royal Coronas at the Rancho Gordo store a couple of months ago purely because of the way they looked. Royal Coronas are huge white beans, and as I discovered, they get even bigger after cooking. Three times bigger to be exact. Two cups of dried Royal Coronas can easily feed 6 people at one meal, or two people for two days.
   In planning how to prepare them, I decided to cook them the same way I do chole (garbanzo beans) as I thought the spices would be a great compliment to the creamy texture of these big beauties, but I was worried about timing.  I didn't want to spend an entire bean-centric day. Steve Sando owner and founder of Rancho Gordo told me that if dried beans are truly fresh (and his are), long pre-soaking is not a must. One can go right to the cooking phase which is what I did. Skeptically, I must  admit but as I discovered, Steve was right!

   Four hours in a slow cooker in some water, softened these babies up perfectly so that they were ready for the final phase. In this case the final phase took about 20 minutes which is pretty dang good and fast for a dried bean recipe. In fact I put the beans and their cooking water into the fridge overnight and finished the dish quickly for lunch  the next day using the spices from my trusty The Chaunk Box .So fire up your slow cooker for big juicy, creamy, Royal Coronas without a whole lot of preparation.

Royal Corona Masala

Here's What You Need:
2 Tbs vegetable oil (I use coconut oil )
2 cups of dried Rancho Gordo Royal Corona Beans
1 onion finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seed
4 tsps finely chopped fresh ginger
4 shallots chopped
2 serrano chilies minced
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

Here's What To Do:
Place  2 cups of dried Royal Corona beans in a slow cooker with 6 cups of water.
Turn the slow cooker up to high and let them simmer for about 4 hours. They'll swell up  and get tender.
Drain the beans but save the water they've been cooked in as it contains a lot of the nutrients and you'll also be using it later in the recipe.
In a skillet or kadhai heat the vegetable oil.

When the oil is hot, add in the cumin seeds.

Once they start to sizzle (this is almost instantly) toss in the onion, shallot, ginger, salt, and green chilies.

Saute everything until the onion and shallot are cooked through and translucent.
Once the onions and shallot are soft, add in the garam masala, coriander, and turmeric.

Stir this mixture around for about 1 minute then add in the tomatoes
and the juice from the can.

add the cooked Royal Coronas also.

These are big suckers! Stir them around well and make sure everything is well mixed and add in 1/2 cup of the saved bean water.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, and let it cook like that for about 20 minutes. The sauce will have thickened and the flavors blended.

Check the salt for seasoning and you can serve this over plain Basmati rice or on its own.
Top with a dab of yogurt to cut the heat, and drizzle with a bit of pomegranate molasses to highlight the sweet meatiness of the beans.

 Top with a bit of chopped cilantro and that's it! 

   Letting the slow cooker do the work makes pulling this bean dish together quick and simple. Add a chapatti or dosa and that's all she wrote. I'm going to be cooking a lot more of these Royal Coronas as I think prepared in this manner they're a natural for Summer Cook outs.

   Now that I've converted to this easy way of cooking the beans I want, when I want them, I'm going to be doing a lot more Indian translations of New World beans. Coming up next Seasonal Indian cooking and something new for Summer from The Chaunk follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Down and Dirty and Gluten Free...Edible Dirt

   The reason my posts have been a bit sporadic of late is I have been working for the CocoaPlanet people who are opening their new chocolate factory and Bistro here in Sonoma. A few months back they hired me to help develop gluten free items for their menu. This bistro is going to be totally and completely Gluten Free. Because the owners and their family are gluten free, their chocolate is gluten free. Because their factory is on the premises, the restaurant and tasting room attached will also be a completely gluten free facility. They're not messing around. Finally there will be an absolutely gluten free restaurant here in Sonoma.
   One of the things I like best about it is we're not trying to make things just plain gluten free, I'm used to working with a large variety of flours, and the things I'm making are naturally gluten free...in other words that's how they're made anyway, they just happen to be gluten free. No twists and turns, no jumping through hoops.
   One of the things that they are going to have on the menu are these charming little desserts. Deep Dark Truffle pots de creme topped with "edible dirt". Ever since I made edible dirt for a piece in Honest Cooking Magazine a few years back I've loved the concept. When we started talking about turning it from a savory to a sweet it just seemed like a natural fit. The base is a rich chocolaty mousse, the topping gluten free. The process super easy.

Edible Dirt

Here's What You Need:
8 chocolate shortbread gluten free cookies. (These  can also be made vegan. The dough for these cookies is very easy to make and stores well in the fridge or freezer. I usually have a roll of it on hand for cookie emergencies.)
3 discs of Cocoa Planet Deep Dark Truffle Chocolate
1/2 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds

Here's What to do:
Place the shortbread cookies in a food processor and pulse until it has the appearance of rough soil.

Set it aside in a mixing bowl.

Dry roast 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds in a cast iron skillet until they're lightly toasted.
Take the pumpkin seeds and place them in the food processor with the chocolate discs.

Pulse them until they also resemble soil.

Mix the ground up pumpkin seeds and chocolate with the ground up shortbread cookies and you have some pretty convincing looking dirt.

Now for the fun part.
Take your containers of chocolate mousse or pudding. (I used small heat resistant glass flowerpot shaped votive holders that I found on Amazon for about 11 bucks a dozen and filled them with delicious chocolate mousse.)
Add a few edible flowers. Our entire garden is organic so I went out and cut a few mini roses for decor.

Sprinkle a few spoonfuls of edible dirt on top of the chocolate mousse just before serving.

Stick a flower in it and bingo! Dessert!

Easy, fun, gluten free, and both the mousse and the cookies can be made vegan. Yes, this has been done with Oreos etc....but homemade is so much better!  Coming up next...we've just planted our vegetables for this season so more vegetarian Indian delights, and big news for beans. We're also introducing a new product The Chaunk Rubs and Flavors just in time for Summer grilling season.

Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Got Roses? Get Your Jam On!

   When we bought our house in Sonoma, one of the biggest attractions for us was the extensive gardens. The woman we bought the house from had cultivated her garden for 30 years with a proliferation of roses, columbine, Asian poppies, iris....you name it we have it. She also had a water thrifty drip irrigation system. We furthered that by hooking up the rain machine which runs our watering system via wifi connected to  NOAA. The less water use the better. We took out the lawns in front and xeriscaped with drought tolerant plants. In the back yard we removed all lawn and put in 7 large raised growing beds  and several fruit trees which allowed us to get a large amount of what we eat straight from home. This year thanks to El Nino and all the rain we've had here in Sonoma, our garden is bursting at the seams.

Our roses are exploding with color and scent which is a big part of the recipe.

   You need to get your mitts on some strongly scented red roses or dark pink roses, so sniff around and see what you've got. We use only organic and natural products in our gardens, and the reason that that is important to this recipe is that organically grown roses are necessary for this jam. So if you don't have any organic roses in your garden, find a friend who does and share this around. It's probably the easiest jam or jelly I've ever made and I've been canning for about 25 plus years. In fact this might be a great fun family project for little hands, as long as big hands are running the stove.

Rose Petal Jam


Here's What You Need: 
8 cups of organic heavily scented red or deep pink rose petals, loosely packed. We're talking about 8 or 10 roses.
3 cups white caster (bakers) sugar
The juice of 1 lemon
2 and 1/2 cups of water
5 clean and sterilized small jelly sized canning jars

Here's What To Do: 
Make sure your rose petals are clean, so  gently rinse them with some water and let them dry.
Pull the petals off the roses and put them into a large bowl with 1 cup of the sugar and the lemon juice.

Here's the fun part. Massage those rose petals. You don't want to shred or tear them just mush them around in the sugar and lemon juice.

Sort of like finger painting with flowers...this is where the kids can come in. The roses will start to release their fragrance and a pinkish juice.  You want to massage them until they form a sort of paste and are all mushed down.
When that is done, place the other 2 cups of sugar into a sauce pan containing the water.

Mix this together well and then heat it on a medium flame.
Once the sugar has all dissolved into the water add your rose petals.

Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir it every now and then so nothing sticks or burns.

Let it boil until the rose petals have all sunk to the bottom of the pan and the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

This should take about 30 minutes more or less. The jam is going to be syrupy rather than totally jammy as fruit jam is, with lovely bits of rose petal in it.
Fill the clean hot jars with the hot jam.

Place lids on them.

Now, you can take your jelly and after it cools a bit, store it in the fridge...or process the sealed jars in a boiling water, canning bath as you would jam or jelly and store them in your pantry.

 This stuff is great on Shrikhand, or yogurt, or ice cream, or any bread, or whatever.  If you store it in the fridge and it is too firm just take the lid off and pop the open jar in the microwave for about 10 or 20 seconds to loosen it up, or in a shallow pan filled with warm water. Fragrant with jewel colors, this makes any brunch, breakfast, or dessert extra special. Coming up next some great seasonal Indian vegetarian dishes  follow along on Twitter @kathygori

To finish, I leave you with a bit of rose porn.


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